Toto Wolff believes his Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport team are not the favourites for this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton made it consecutive victories this season in Spain but Wolff is aware that everything in Barcelona played into their hands.
“Our first 1-2 of the season in Barcelona felt great.
“The car was quick, looked after its tyres and both drivers were positive about the balance and handling.
“But we’re not thinking about it as a turning point – the track layout, surface and conditions all suited our car and played into our hands.
“So we are staying cautious with our predictions as we head to Monaco.”
Last year saw Mercedes struggle round the Circuit de Monaco with Valtteri Bottas finishing fourth and Hamilton seventh.
“It’s a circuit that gives us completely different challenges – and unique ones, too.
“Last year, it became a weekend of damage limitation when we didn’t find the right set-up.
“It was a painful lesson from us and we are determined to show that we have learned it this year.”
Wolff is expecting a similar weekend to last season and is hoping that by maximising the pace of the car, they can challenge Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Ferrari.
“We don’t head into the weekend as favourites – they are Red Bull and Ferrari.
“Red Bull are strong in the slow-speed corners and where straight line speed is less important, while Ferrari dominated last year.
“Our job is to deliver a smooth practice programme, apply our learning from recent races and maximise the potential of the car, whatever that proves to be.”
Monaco starts a run of seven races in ten weeks and Wolff is prepared for the tough test that lies ahead for his team.
“We are now starting the heart of the season, with seven races ahead in the next ten weekends.
“We will race on a broad range of circuits before the summer break, with races coming thick and fast.
“This will test the team to its limits – and any weaknesses will be harshly punished in the points.
“We are clear-sighted about the challenge ahead of us and determined to prevail.”